Magyars


During the 8th and 9th centuries, an intrepid group of nomads undertook an epic migration west and established a powerful kingdom in the Carpathian Basin. Take command of the fiercest cavalry forces that Europe had ever witnessed in the Middle Ages and decimate your enemies with brutal raids and deft maneuvers as you relive the Honfoglalás. Lead the mighty Corvinian Army of Huszars in defense of the Hungarian plains and use recurve bows to transfix your enemies with a barrage of arrows!


Quick Card

Cavalry civilization

  • Villagers kill wolves with 1 strike
  • Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace free
  • Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Hussar cost -15%

Unique Unit

Magyar Huszar (cavalry)

Magyar unique light cavalry unit. Strong vs. siege weapons. Weak vs. Pikemen and Camel Riders.

Unique Techs

Corvinian Army (Magyar Huszars cost no gold)
Recurve Bow (Cavalry archers +1 range, +1 attack)

Team Bonus

  • Foot archers +2 LOS

History

The origins of the Magyars can be traced back to at least 2000 BC when they lived as nomadic hunters in the area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. By 500 AD, they had started to migrate towards Central Europe. In the 8th century, they inhabited the region near the river Don, but moved on to modern-day Ukraine after a civil war broke out in the 9th century. Another war, the Bulgar-Byzantine war, forced the Magyars to migrate one more time around 896: under their leader Arpad, they conquered the few Slavs living in the Carpathian Basin. Here, they finally settled themselves and founded the Principality of Hungary.

The Principality of Hungary was in the beginning little more than a federation of tribes ruled by a descendant of Arpad, called the Grand Prince. In order to keep the tribes unified, the Magyars conducted raids all over Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries. Their forces consisted mostly of light cavalry equipped with an Asian recurve bow which was inherited from their eastern origin. The Magyars favored quick charges preceded by a volley of arrows. After the Magyar defeat in the Battle of Lechfeld (955), they started to abandon the tactic of raiding and adopted a Western European style of warfare: heavy and light cavalry mixed with infantry.

The end of their raiding also resulted in a political challenge: the links between tribes were weakening. Here as well, Grand Princes sought a solution in Western European models. Prince Istvan I accomplished his father’s plan by consolidating power, reforming the state, and introducing Christianity into Hungary. His coronation by the Pope in 1000 marked the foundation of the Kingdom of Hungary. During the 11th and 12th centuries, Hungary became more like a Western European society. However, in the 13th century, the kingdom suffered: the king lost power to his nobles while a Mongol invasion devastated the country in 1241. In addition, the last king of the Arpads died in 1301, which resulted in seven years of internal warfare.

After these seven years, Charles Robert of Anjou was elected as Hungary’s first foreign king. It was also the beginning of the golden era for the kingdom: royal power was restored and a policy of conquest made Hungary one of the largest realms in Europe. One of the key factors in this renewal of power were the goldmines of Hungary and the growing importance of monetary trade, on both of which the king had a monopoly. As a result of this and blooming agriculture, focused on cattle and wine, Hungary began to recover from the hardships of the previous century.

During the same golden era, the Turkish Ottoman Empire was expanding rapidly. Since the coronation of Istvan I, the Kingdom of Hungary was the most eastern of Christian realms. With this act, the medieval culture of the Magyars had taken shape: the heritage from the Eurasian steppes was pushed into obscurity, while Christian and Western European elements were adopted. Hungary marked the boundary for Romanesque and Gothic architecture, sculpture, and painting. The city of Buda even became a Renaissance center in the 15th century.

Hungary was thus a great Christian bastion against the Mongols and later the Russians in the east, and against the Byzantine Empire and later the Ottoman Empire in the south. In 1456, the general John Hunyadi won a decisive battle that stopped the expansion of the Ottomans into Europe for decades. In the 16th century, however, the Hungarian bastion finally fell: the northwest came under Habsburg rule, while the south fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire.